Sunday, May 27, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper is facing one of the most challenging cases of her career, the high-profile murder case against Brendan Quillian for the strangulation of his wife Amanda. Cooper is convinced that Quillian hired someone to kill his wife while he was conveniently out of town but has little but circumstantial evidence and the testimony of the murdered wife’s best friend Kate with which to win the conviction. When the defense attorney tears Kate apart on the witness stand, exposing her affair with Quillian, Cooper is sure the case is lost – that is, until a devastating explosion in Water Tunnel #3 rocks New York City and a link to Brendan Quillian is found in the wreckage.

With only a few days to rebuild her case, Cooper, Mercer and Wallace race to understand Quillian’s connection to the new water tunnels, and find the evidence to ensure a conviction. Yet, as they explore the “city of death” underneath Manhattan, they may have unearthed more than just an insular society of “sand hogs” and Amanda’s death may not be the only one requiring investigation.

Bad Blood is the ninth thriller by Linda Fairstein to feature Alexandra Cooper, the lead prosecutor for the Sex Crimes Unit at Manhattan’s District Attorney’s office. Fairstein, for years the head of the same department in Manhattan, uses her extensive experience to create a story full of the nuances and myriad details that provide authenticity. Only an intimate of this world would be aware that the prosecutor’s current favoured method to move case files is shopping carts.

Fairstein’s thrillers include a great deal of action, more than lovers of legal thrillers may appreciate; however, she consistently presents aspects of New York City that for many are hidden, bringing it to life as a secondary character. She incorporates the history of New York’s water system into the plot without it feeling clunky or manipulated. The inclusion of the city as an essential character is what set her thrillers apart from the rest of this crowded genre.

Blair Brown’s reading flows smoothly as she effortlessly switches between the distinct voices and accents with which she portrays the various characters. Whether she is describing the historical and engineering facts about New York’s water tunnels or the social history of the “sand hogs” (the tunnel workers), the expressiveness of her reading suggests she is as engaged with the subject as the author. Especially notable is her portrayal of the bitter feud among the sand hog families. Her voice reflects the vitriol and animosity without becoming melodramatic.

Read the review at Curled Up with a Good Book.

ISBN10: 0743555953
ISBN13: 9780743555951

Audiobook, 5 CDs
Read by: Blair Brown
Abridged by: Judith Benenson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: January 2007


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